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STANDARD BANK & TRUST CO. v. VILLAGE OF ORLAND HIL

June 14, 1995

STANDARD BANK & TRUST COMPANY, not individually but as Trustee under Trust Agreement dated July 25, 1974, and known as Trust No. 4098; and HARTZ CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, an Illinois corporation, Plaintiffs,
v.
VILLAGE OF ORLAND HILLS, an Illinois municipal corporation; KYLE HASTINGS, individually and as President of the Village of Orland Hills; CHRIS ANDREWS, DON BIGOS, JOHN CORICH, MICHAEL PUCKETT, FRAN ALDOUS, and STEVEN CHAIRITO, individually and as Trustees of the Village of Orland Hills; VELGA DRILLIS-ELZIS, individually; JOHN DALY, as Administrator of the Village of Orland Hills; BRADLEY E. BRINK, individually; and EARL HERMANSEN, individually and as Building Commissioner of the Village of Orland Hills, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR.

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Before the court are Defendant Bradley E. Brink's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and the motion of the remaining Defendants for an abstention stay. For the following reasons, the former motion is granted. The court will reserve ruling on the latter motion.

 I. BACKGROUND1

 This action is brought by the legal and beneficial owners of certain real estate located in the Defendant Village of Orland Hills, Standard Bank & Trust Company, and by Hartz Construction Company, the principal builder and developer in Orland Hills. The Complaint contains six counts. Count I is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and contains allegations that the Defendants, the City of Orland Hills and various city officials, deprived Plaintiffs of property rights without due process of law, and denied Plaintiffs equal protection of the laws. Count II alleges that the Defendants intentionally interfered with Plaintiffs' rights to construct and sell single family attached and detached homes in the Orland Hills. Count III contains allegations that Defendants intentionally interfered with Plaintiffs' contract with Orland Hills and similarly interfered with the Plaintiffs' business expectations that a prior Settlement Agreement would be carried out in accordance with its terms. Plaintiffs allege in Count IV that the Defendants named in their individual capacity conspired to "destroy the plaintiffs' business in the Village of Orland Hills by continual harassment, delays and unlawful acts intended to, and resulting in preventing them from constructing and selling homes." (Count IV, P 1.) Plaintiffs claim in Count V that Defendants, especially Hermansen and Hastings, made defamatory statements that Hartz built substandard and unsafe homes in Orland Hills and deliberately failed to meet building codes. The final count, Count VI, involves allegations that Defendants breached a valid and enforceable contract, the Settlement Agreement. All counts with the exception of Count I, are state supplemental claims.

 The aforementioned Settlement Agreement was entered into by Hartz, a predecessor entity of Standard Bank, and Orland Hills. The Settlement Agreement resolved a previous action brought by Plaintiffs against Orland Hills in a related case in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. In the state case, Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and damages against Orland Hills and the named Defendants with regard to the village's refusal to issue to lift stop work orders and building permits with regard to the Ridgegate subdivision to be constructed and developed by Hartz. The Settlement Agreement addressed development issues relating to the Ridgegate project which related to the prior state cause of action, and also incorporated planned unit agreements for two additional projects, Pepperwood and Timberline. Subsequent to the resolution of the state law case, Orland Hills enacted Ordinance No. 93-16 which adopted the planned unit developments for the Timberline and Pepperwood subdivisions projects. In turn, Hartz secured zoning approval for both projects.

 In July 1993, Hartz applied for building permits for the construction of single family homes in the Pepperwood and Timberline projects. Orland Hills, through its President and Board of Trustees, approved the preliminary engineering plans for the Pepperwood subdivision, but neither approved nor denied the plans for Timberline.

 II. DISCUSSION

 In deciding a motion to dismiss, the court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, as well as the reasonable inferences that may be drawn from those allegations. Mid America Title Co. v. Kirk, 991 F.2d 417, 419 (7th Cir. 1993). The complaint need not specify the correct legal theory nor point to the correct statute. Bartholet v. Reishauer A.G., 953 F.2d 1073, 1078 (7th Cir. 1992). Because federal courts simply require "notice pleading," this court must construe pleadings liberally. Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence and Coordination Unit, 122 L. Ed. 2d 517, 113 S. Ct. 1160, 1163 (1993). In construing reasonable inferences, however, the court need not stretch allegations beyond their sensible and reasonable implications. Chan v. City of Chicago, 777 F. Supp. 1437, 1440 (N.D. Ill. 1991).

 A. COUNT I - CIVIL RIGHTS

 Plaintiffs allege a claim for violation of civil rights against Defendant Brink under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs allege that Brink, Orland Hills, and other named village officials, acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner by denying them the right to develop the Pepperwood and Timberline projects without sufficient substantive and procedural due process and further denied them of the equal protection of the laws. Brink contends that the allegations in Count I fail to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The court agrees.

 1. Substantive Due ...


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